Peter Boyle

The demand of tens of thousands of people who marched through the streets in cities around Australia on May 18 was clear. They want the federal government’s killer budget blocked.

It is utterly galling to hear the leader of the federal Labor opposition criticising the government for proposing a “new tax” in the form of a modest and temporary “deficit levy” on taxpayers in the highest income bracket.

So Tony Abbott is the new prime minister. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments delivered this outcome with the narrow self-interest of its MPs and mafia-like faction heads and its desperation to prove itself as the best managers for the billionaire class.

As the 2013 federal budget looms, both the Labor government and the Opposition insist on the need to cut social spending.

Sadly, we have been witnessing over the last few days a course of events that has been all too familiar in our time, especially in Latin America.

The overwhelming majority of the 1140 people who attended some part of the Marxism 2013 conference would have agreed with Socialist Alternative national executive member Vashti Kenway at the opening session: "I am feeling extremely hopeful of developments here in the left in Australia."

Bernie Rosen really was a man for the people. He battled for the rights of the exploited and oppressed ever since he was a teenager before WWII and then right to the very end of his life last week.

The abortive leadership spill in the Labor party on March 22 was yet another demonstration of its total political bankruptcy.

Once again the question of left unity is on the agenda in Australia. There have been exploratory talks between the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative and also between the Socialist Alliance and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).